A bakery and café, a pet boutique, a village blacksmith and a kitchen with a juice bar will be the newest businesses residents along Historic Main Street in Gloucester this fall thanks to Launch Gloucester.
The business owners were part of the Launch Gloucester program, an entrepreneur contest sponsored by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe that awarded the winning businesses a grand total of over $95,000 in goods, services and start-up capital to launch their business on Main Street in the Gloucester Village.
“The new businesses will help make Gloucester Village a destination to live, work, and play while increasing economic activity,” said Jenny Crittenden, Executive Director of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.
The Launch Gloucester program was one of three in the state as part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative and empowered entrepreneurs with the tools they needed to launch their businesses in Gloucester, Va., creating jobs and fulfilling dreams. The program was administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and locally overseen by the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association.
Additional funding, support and value of the program in Gloucester came thanks to regional business support, the Gloucester Board of Supervisors, the Gloucester Economic Development Authority and the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the terms of the competition, the businesses were required to open in September, thus the exciting flurry of new businesses cutting ribbons this month.
The first-place winner, Crystal Burton of Sweet Tooth Parlor and Café, is holding a grand opening celebration on Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As the Launch Gloucester winner, Burton secured a prize package valued at $48,000, including $20,000 in start-up capital, $1,800 in rent and utility abatement and a marketing and communications package worth $19,000.
Sweet Tooth Café and Bakery is located at 6655 Main Street in Gloucester. To mark the occasion, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones will help cut the ribbon.
Event guests will enjoy a complimentary mini-cupcake with each meal purchase and t-shirts will be given away throughout the day.
Karin Fary, Owner of The Nines Pet Boutique and Photography, won second place in the contest. Through the program, The Nines secured a prize package valued at $30,000 to include $10,000 in start-up capital, $1,200 in rent and utility abatement and a marketing and communications package worth $13,000.
Fary is opening her doors to welcome furry friends and neighbors on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. The boutique is located at 6582 Main Street. The first 30 customers welcomed into the store during the grand opening will receive a special gift from The Nines team.
Two businesses, the Village Blacksmith and Good Life Kitchen, were the co-recipients of the $18,000 third-place award. It included $5,000 in capital, $600 in rent and utility abatement and a marketing and communications package valued at more than $9,000.
George Cramer’s shop, the Village Blacksmith, will feature custom metal work, blacksmithing, bladesmithing, reproduction, restoration, repair, welding, fabrication training and consulting on low- to high-end custom metal work. Cramer is planning a soft opening date for Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. This will include a forge lighting ceremony. The shop is located at 6641 Gloucester Street.
The Good Life Kitchen, run by Lorraine Walsh, is planning a grand opening for Oct. 7. Walsh’s business will marry her passion for food and cooking with hospitality and healthy foods. She will offer home-style foods that are healthy and feature organic and pesticide-free ingredients.
The Good Life Kitchen hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The grand opening celebration will be held Oct. 7 and she is offering 25% off all day.
She is joined by Rachel Cuba, another Launch Gloucester participant. Cuba will sell juices and smoothies and “grab and go” breakfast items.
Good Life Kitchen is located at 6558 Main Street in the rear of the Morgan Building.
For more information about the Virginia Community Business Launch, visit http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov. To learn more about the Gloucester Main Street Association, visit https://www.gloucestervillage.com or follow the group on Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, visit http://www.mspt.org.